Return to Transcripts main page


Taliban Attacks Lakeside Resort Near Kabul; Moody Downgrades 15 Of World's Biggest Banks; Miami Heat Win NBA Championship; CIA Directing Weapons Into Syria;

Aired June 22, 2012 - 8:00   ET


ANNA COREN, HOST: Hello, I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

We begin in Afghanistan where another bold assault by the Taliban leaves more than a dozen people dead.

Plus, a long awaited moment for Norway. Lawyers make their closing arguments in a case against confessed mass killer Ander Behring Breivik. And two years after saying he'd take his talents to South Beach, the NBA's LeBrong James finally has a championship ring.

Well, it's a country that is no stranger to extreme violence, but even by Afghanistan's standards, this was considered shocking. It was almost midnight when Taliban strikers struck a lakeside hotel near Kabul. What broke out next became a 12 hour gun battle involving both NATO and Afghan forces. Authorities say at least 19 people were killed, including 15 civilians. The seven Taliban attackers were also killed.

Well, the attack took place in a scenic spot that is after news for picnics. It's west of Kabul's city center, an area known for its natural beauty. Well, there are many hotels and restaurants around Lake Qargha, including the Spozhmai where the siege took place.

Well, CNN's Nick Paton-Walsh is in Kabul with more.


NICK PATON-WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, an idyllic lakeside resort not far from the center of Kabul gripped by panic at midnight on Thursday, effectively a night of partying like Saturday night in most of western cultures when the Taliban launched an assault on a key hotel restaurant there called the Spozhmai. It appears that they entered the building at about midnight killing security guards and then it appeared held a number of guests there hostage, dozens we understand.

The police on the scene reasonably quickly, but didn't move in until dawn, needing daylight to try and reduce the risk of civilians casualties there. An hours long gunfight ensued. ISAF troops in support, we understand, and in fact one ISAF helicopter circling around the hotel as this gunfight continued.

It appeared at the end at least a dozen civilians killed, all of the apparent seven militants who launched the attack also dead. And some of the guests fleeing for their lives, throwing themselves off the hotel grounds into the nearby lake to try and swim for safety.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for this, calling the target of their attack a place where there's unIslamic activity and debauchery, but also saying they were targeting ISAF personnel on western diplomats who they thought that were there. There is no information to corroborate that point to suggest that any such ISAF personnel were in the vicinity at the time. So it appears Afghan civilians were the only people they were able to hold hostage during this siege that seems to have gone on for nearly 11, 12 hours.

It really feeds into a picture of large, high profile incidence happening in Afghanistan as fears grow that violence may rise during the summer months.

It's hard to put a precise figure on exactly what trend we're seeing in violence in Afghanistan, but certainly this past April was more violent than the April of the year before. And there are concerns circling the Afghan government that Afghan security forces are being targeted more regularly, that Afghan president Hamid Karzai himself saying that 20 to 25 Afghan soldiers die every day, a figure of course I'm sure which will trouble many in ISAF. NATO's presence here as they begin to quickly hand over control for security in the country to the Afghan army ahead of their move into a non-combat support role in the middle of next year.

Nick Paton-Walsh, CNN, Kabul.


COREN: Well, turning now to world markets. And Greece got a new government on Thursday, but that didn't really net stability on global markets, because credit rating agency Moody's has shaken things up again.

Well, share prices sank globally after the company downgraded 15 of the worlds biggest banks. The outlook isn't totally bleak, however, with Moody's putting the lenders into three categories. At least risk JPMorganChase, HSBC, and the Royal Bank of Canada which Moody's says have contained exposure to the European crisis. Well, the second group, including many of Europe's top lenders as well as Goldman Sachs are said to have moderate varying risk factors. And those most in danger include some of America's biggest banks. Well, they're deemed to have problems with volatility and risk management.

Wall Street had one of its worst days of the year on Thursday and that was before Moody's announcement was made official. Well, Jim Boulden joins us from London to assess the damage.

Jim, what triggered this sea of red?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the sea of red was two things. There's still this general worry about global growth slowing. And Wall Street took a very negative view to that. And then the rumors started coming up that this Moody's downgrade was going to happen. There was many hours to go in trading on Thursday on Wall Street, so investors had plenty of time to react.

However, I think the reality wasn't as bad as some expected. So in after hours trading, Anna, Wall Street some of the banks actually indicate higher. And as we go -- well, just an hour and a half before Wall Street opens it looks like Wall Street will open higher.

Let's look at how European markets are handling this. Certainly many of the UK banks are also higher. After those downgrades -- you know the banks have been complaining that these downgrades are sort of looking backwards and some investors seem to be agreeing to that. Though you see the markets are lower today. The banks themselves are higher, but the markets are generally going into the last couple hours of this trading weekend a negative mode, because it looks like German economy, German ethos survey it's called, it's sort of a gauge of future growth for some of the big manufacturers is looking kind of negative. And so that just feeds into this worry.

So you have the general worry still overhanging this whole bank downgrade, which happened late Thursday night.

COREN: Jim, you mentioned that bank investors and the Moody's downgrade. Some of them are saying, if not telling them anything they did not know. In fact, you know, Moody's is a couple of years late. Do you think markets are more concerned about what is happening today?

BOULDEN: Yes. I mean, in a couple of hours we'll be having this called mini-summit which is where the leaders of Italy, Spain, France, Germany will be getting together in Italy and discussing and trying to figure out exactly what they can come up with to help specifically helping Spain and Italy ahead of the big European summit next week.

You know, we had a lot of these summits, Anna. I think the worry is that they have these meetings and don't come out with a sum statement that that will affect the markets come Monday morning. But what we're looking for is whether or not there is any movement from the Germans, from Mrs. Merkel the Chancellor about allowing some direct aid injections into some of the bond markets in Europe. And if she does sort of back off some of her stance that would probably be seen as a positive for the market.

So they're very much focused on that as we come to the end of what has been of course quite a dramatic week in the markets.

COREN: Jim Boulden in London. As always, great to get your analysis. Thank you.

Well, you can watch Wall Street's opening bell on World Business Today and hear more about the mini-summit in Rome, which Jim just mentioned, where leaders of four of Europe's biggest economies will be meeting.

Well, now to Egypt where thousands of protesters have filled Cairo's Tahrir Square. They are demanding that Egypt's interim military rulers give up power. And they want the election commission to release the results of last weekend's presidential runoff.

Well the runoff results were due on Thursday. And the delay is heightening tension. Both the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and Hosni Mubarak's final prime minister Ahmed Shafik claimed victory in the runoff.


AHMED SHAFIK, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): The commission is the final world -- has the final word. I will not jump over what they say. And I will respect its word.


COREN: And Egypt's military rulers have just issued a warning to political parties. Let's get the very latest from Ben Wedeman in Cairo.

Ben, what does the military say?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Basically the military has said that it is not going to go back on the two very sort of controversial measures they have recently taken, or rather the constitutional court which last Thursday dissolved parliament. They say that ruling is not going to be reversed and the military is not going to revert its constitutional declarations which gives the army, basically, a status -- the status of a state within a state. And that's what all of these tens of thousands of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are demonstrating against. So what we have are the elements for a real showdown between the Brotherhood and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Now earlier today I was on the phone with Mohamed Baradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and very much an Egyptian involved in trying to narrow the gap between the military council and the Muslim Brotherhood. He said that there are lots of messages passing back and forth between the two, because there is so much concern about a confrontation between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood.

And those worries are being played out very much for instance in the Cairo stock exchange where stocks have fallen day after day after day. We see for instance that the Egyptian pound is at its lowest level against the American dollar in six years. People are very concerned that a confrontation is on the way -- Anna.

COREN: Ben, let's talk about the situation behind you, because we can see the crowd, the thousands of people who are protesting there in Tahrir Square. We've got this statement from the military, but then we also have the Muslim Brotherhood warning that there will be a confrontation between the people and the military if their candidate Mohammed Morsi is not elected to be the leader, the rightful leader. I mean, this has the potential to turn extremely ugly.

WEDEMAN: Yes, in fact Mohamed Baradei was telling me. He said the situation, he said, is a completely and total 100 percent mess.

Now one of the problems is that the results for the runoff elections which took place last weekend were supposed to be announced yesterday, the 21st of June. Now the announcement has been postponed because the electoral commission is investigating what they say are more than 400 complaints by the two separate campaigns.

The Muslim Brotherhood very -- just hours after the polls closed, started to release results. And they are insisting that their candidate Mohammed Moris has won by as much as 52 percent to 48 percent for Ahmed Shafik.

Now one of the elements of the statement released by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces just a few minutes ago, and it's been repeated three times within the last hour, is that no party should be announcing results before the final official results are made public.

But what's happened is that this crowd down here is shouting, chanting, Morsi, Morsi, because they believe he has won as a result of the repeated statement by Muslim Brotherhood officials. If for any reason the actual official results say the opposite, that Ahmed Shafik has won, many people are very worried that this protest, which at the moment is peaceful, could turn violent -- Anna.

COREN: ...developing story as we know. Friday is always a volatile day. And things can flare up. Ben Wedeman will be closely following this story throughout the day. Thank you.

Well, fighting in Syria intensified as more civilian casualties are reported. We'll tell you what the CIA is reportedly now doing as part of a covert Syria operation.

Why Chinese political activist Ai Weiwei says his future looks bleaker than ever.

And the man who confessed to one of Norway's deadliest massacres awaits his verdict as the trial draws to a close.


COREN: Well, ongoing clashes in Syria have claimed dozens of lives that several neighborhoods, including this one in the western city of Quseir have been reduced to rubble. And opposition groups says nearly 130 people were killed across the country on Thursday. At least 15 of them were children. The heaviest losses were reported in the southern region of Daraa and in the city of Homs. Well, meanwhile Syria state run TV has reported that more than 25 pro-government fighters have been killed.

Well, as the fighting escalates in Syria, Washington is stepping up pressure on the al-Assad regime. The New York Times report say a covert CIA operation is now underway in southern Turkey. Suzanne Kelly has the details.


SUZANNE KELLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A small group of CIA officers, working from Turkey, helping allies decide which opposition groups inside Syria should be receiving arms, that's according to the New York Times which sites unnamed sources saying rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank weapons are being sent through Turkey into Syria.

CNN reported back in May that the U.S. was increasing its coordination with Gulf nations who were working to arm the opposition. Officials insisted Thursday the U.S. is not providing arms to Syrian rebel groups, but is concerned about who makes up those groups.

GEORGE LITTLE, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Any time that weapons fall into the wrong hands anywhere around the world is a problem.

KELLY: U.S. intelligence agencies now estimate and al Qaeda force inside Syria to be some 500 strong. A new report by the Institute for the Study of Wars spells out the challenges in separating them from an opposition force that has now grown to some 40,000 men.

JOSEPH HOLLIDAY, INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR: The more difficult question is the rebel groups that are more -- more Salafist, more conservative Islamist groups that are not quite you know al Qaeda organizations, they're not necessarily favor -- in favor of global Islamic jihad, but nonetheless have a more conservative Sunni outlook and that -- you know, they could end up becoming more powerful over time.

KELLY: A U.S. official tells CNN that the opposition is clearly becoming more effective. Assad may have the upper hand militarily, but he now has to confront more than a ragtag bunch of guys.

Chairman of the House intelligence committee Mike Rogers says that while the U.S. should be in a better position to understand these opposition groups, he doesn't have a high comfort level right now with the U.S. playing any role in channeling the flow of any weapons that may be moving toward those groups.

Suzanne Kelly, CNN, Washington.


COREN: Well, this raises questions about just how well equipped and coordinated Syria's opposition forces are. For more, we're joined by our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr in Washington.

Now Barbara, do we know where the Syrian opposition are getting their arms and what role is the U.S. playing?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now the U.S. insists, Anna, that it is not providing lethal assistance to the rebel forces. But look, the clear fact is they are getting better. And you might wonder why. By all accounts, outside countries -- Saudi Arabia, perhaps Qatar, are providing some of that assistance, but also what U.S. officials are looking at are the raids and attacks that the opposition have been conducting.

By all accounts, they are getting their hands on regime weapons. They have gone against government armories, against government sites. And they've been able to capture some weapons and they have had some defections from the Syrian regime forces. So they're getting weapons both inside the country and from outside. And over time, yes, getting better by all accounts, better able to communicate, better able to coordinate their operations -- Anna.

COREN: So, Barbara, the U.S. administration says it is not providing weapons. Do these latest developments suggest that the U.S. is becoming more involved in pushing for a transition of power in Syria.

STARR: Well, yes, absolutely. On the diplomatic front, that is the goal at all times in the U.S. policy which is to push for a transition to get Assad out of office and get the democratic process going in Syria. The challenge here always has been how do you get this in an organized, controlled fashion. How do you avoid the utter sudden collapse of the Syrian regime perhaps that would lead to massive instability, no designated officials to take over a government if that were to happen, and a lot of concerns about Islamic fundamentalists and others moving into Syria and causing more instability.

So what they're looking for is a controlled transition. And that may be the toughest thing of all -- Anna.

COREN: Barbara, we just turned on the screen that the opposition claim that almost 13,500 people have been killed in Syria. Barbara Starr joining us from Washington. Thank you.

Well, coming up, the king is crowned. Miami Heat fans celebrate as arguably the world's best basketball player gets a championship ring. Alex Thomas has the sports news next.


COREN: Well, for many people he was already the player who reigns over the NBA. And now King James finally has the championship crown to go with his nickname. Alex Thomas joins us from London with all the details. Hello, Alex.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anna. It was third time lucky for LeBron James after he lead the Miami Heat to their second NBA championship on Thursday. Victory in Game 5 of the finals, ceding a 4-1 series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Heat produced a record equally shooting performance from long range. Mike Miller draining seven three pointers and only missing one. There were strong contributions from Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh too. But it was the NBA MVP who again dominated the game. LeBron James with a triple-double of 26 points, 12 assists -- 13 assists I should say -- and 11 rebounds as Miami beat Oklahoma 121-106 and ending the series before it could head back west for Game 6. Vindication for LeBron after missing out 12 months ago and with Cleveland in 2007. And it's the Heat's second championship success six years after their first.

So, Miami has certainly waited a long time to celebrate being top of the basketball world once again. CNN's John Zarrella was watching it all and joins us live from the city now.

I see, John, they seem to be having a bit of a party down there?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what, it's quieted this morning, fortunately. It wasn't that way last night. But you know, Alex, as you mentioned you know the game was really never in doubt last night. Sitting in the arena you just knew, had a sense early on, that Miami was clicking on all cylinders and wasn't going to be stopped.

The headline in the Miami Herald this morning "Kings" and as you mentioned, LeBron getting his ring finally, silencing all his critics. And last night after the game was over, sheer bedlam here on the streets of Miami.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is number one now? Who is the king now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heat hot! Heat hot! Heat hot!


ZARRELLA: And really the only question now is when is the big parade? That's what we're waiting to find out. Because you know the parade is going to be right down here at Biscayne Boulevard. It'll probably end at the Miami arena right there behind me with certainly speeches and a big final season celebration.

They are the champions of the world and they certainly proved it last night -- Alex.

THOMAS: Well, well done, John, for putting up with all those noisy fans. And surprised you can hear anything at all. Thanks for getting up so early for us. John Zarrella in Miami, the victorious NBA city this morning.

Let's turn our attention to football's Euro 2012. Portugal are the first team through to the semi-finals after a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic. As you can see from our knockout phase graphic, the first flag in that next quarter section of the draw. Christiano Ronaldo got the only goal of the game. 1-0 the final score.

It was 11 minutes from the end of a very one-sided contest. You can see exactly how one-sided. We call up the match stats for you. Just look at this one. Portugal with 20 shots to just two by the Czech Republic.

Ronaldo's goal was his third of the tournament. And that puts him on the leading scorers chart alongside Russia's Alan Dzagoev, Mario Mandzukic of Croatia, and German's Mario Gomez -- although it's only Gomez and Ronaldo that are still in the competition, don't forget.

Friday's quarterfinal, well, that sees Germany take on Greece. The two countries may have a rather complicated diplomatic relationship right now, but let's look at this from a sporting standpoint. And as far as football is concerned, this is a bit of a mismatch, this game in Gdansk. We look at the average stats for all the group games they played so far. Well, the Germans are the only team who have won all their games. The Greeks, meanwhile, have had fewer shots on average than any of the other sides remaining in the competition. They've also racked up more cards, nine yellows, and a red. And it means their captain is going to miss the match through suspension.

Now the prospect of a rematch between boxers Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradly has moved a step closer after the WBO demonstrated exactly how bizarre the scoring was in their original bout.

When the pair met earlier this month, two of the three judges scored the contest in favor of the American. And it caused uproar amongst most boxing observers who felt the Pac-Man had been far the better fighter on the night.

The WBO says it can't overturn the result or order Bradley to give up his belt, but it is ready to re -- to authorize a rematch. And this is the main reason. They released the scorecards from five anonymous judges who were also marking the match. This is the scorecard from the original three judges who marked it as a two point fight, but only put Pacquiao ahead in one of them.

And if you look at the other fight judges scorecards now, everyone awarded the bout to the Filipino. And one of them by as many as eight points.

That's all the sport for now. I'll be live at Euro 2012 in World Sport in just over three-and-a-half hours time. For now, back to you in Hong Kong, Anna.

COREN: Alex, wouldn't the fans love a rematch, so would the promoters. So we'll have to wait and see if that one happens. Alex Thomas in London. Thank you.

Well, choosing a new prime minister: still ahead, we're live in Islamabad, Pakistan as a key vote gets underway.

Also, the cost of dissent. We speak to Chinese activist Ai Weiwei about the new challenges he's facing.


COREN: Welcome back. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. These are your world headlines.

Well, this is how markets in Europe are looking this hour after rating agency Moody's downgraded 15 of the world's biggest banks. As you can see it is a sea of red. Well, Asian stocks followed Wall Street south this Friday as Moody's warn big name lenders on their risk management and exposure to European debt.

A siege by Taliban fighters at a hotel near Kabul, Afghanistan is over after a nearly 12 hour gun battle with NATO and Afghan forces. Authorities say at least 19 people were killed including 15 civilians. Well, police say all seven Taliban members behind the assault are also dead.

A former top executive of Rupert Murdoch's British newspaper group has appeared in court today. Rebekah Brooks made her second court appearance after being charged in relation to the phone hacking scandal. She is accused of conspiring to remove documents, computers, and other potential evidence from a police investigation. Well, Brooks' husband and four others are also charged.

Paraguay's senate will soon decide if President Fernando Lugo can stay in office. The lower chamber of congress voted overwhelmingly to start impeachment proceedings against the president on Thursday. Well, this comes after clashes last week between police and farmers left 17 people dead.

Well, Pakistan's lower house of parliament is meeting to vote for a new prime minister. That's after Yousef Raza Gilani was this week deemed ineligible to hold office because of a long running contempt case. Now Reza Sayah is in the capital Islamabad to help us make sense of all of this.

Now Reza, this is an extremely complex case. But I guess at the heart of it is a power struggle between the president and the chief justice of the supreme court. What is the latest?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Anna. It's not always easy to make sense of Pakistani politics, but we're working hard to do that today. Let's get you up to date on what's happening today. This morning, the ruling Pakistan People's Party selected their newest nomination for prime minister to replace the outgoing prime minister. His name Raja Pervez Ashraf. He was a former minister under the outgoing minister Gilani's cabinet. He's viewed as a loyalist of the Pakistan People's Party, the part of President Asif Ali Zardari.

Now what we're doing now is waiting for the vote in Parliament, which is scheduled to happen within the hour to see if he is, indeed, voted in as the new prime minister. The ruling coalition of the Pakistan People's Party still dominates parliament so the coast seems to be clear. He seems to be voted in with ease, but with Pakistani politics, you never know. So we will wait to see with happens with this vote.

Getting here was a confusing adventure. Of course earlier this week the supreme court ousting the prime minister Mr. Gilani because of a conviction on corruption charges. That was a ball of confusion itself. Selecting a new nominee was not any easier. A couple of days ago, the Pakistan People's Party selected its initial nominee Makhdoom Shahabuddin, but a couple of hours after he submitted his nominations papers yesterday a court issued an arrest warrant for him in connection with a drug scandal back in 2010, that's when he served as health minister.

Over the past 24 hours, the Pakistan People's Party scrambled for a new nominee and that's when they selected Raja Pervez Ashraf. And that's where we stand today.

But guess what, Anna, his background is also linked with corruption allegations when he served as minister for water and power. So the questions here simply don't end. But that's where we stand at this hour.

COREN: Yeah, it really is quite extraordinary. And whilst this power struggle, this battle plays out, the people of Pakistan who suffer. Reza Sayah joining us from Islamabad, many thanks for that.

Well, the last key player in the 2002 Bali terror attacks has been convicted. An Indonesian court sentenced Umar Patek to 20 years in prison. He was found guilty of premeditated murder and of helping build the bombs used in twin attacks on two night clubs. More than 200 people, most of them foreign tourists, were killed.

Well, defense lawyers have been giving their closing arguments at the trial of the man who admits killing 77 people in Norway's peace time massacre. Well, prosecutors say Anders Behring Breivik is insane and should be held in a psychiatric unit rather than imprisoned. Well, Breivik says he is sane and has tried to justify the attacks he admitted to carrying out July last year.

Well, whatever the verdict proves to be, it isn't expected for at least another month. Well, Diana Magnay has been following this story from the very start and joins us from Berlin.

Diana, bring us up to date on the closing arguments.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anna. Well, right now Breivik is having his final word in court. And the families, many of the families in the court and many of the people there stood up and left before he started to speak as a sort of protest at whatever it is that he had to say. And what he is saying is what we've heard from him before, this sort of political justification and inverted comments for what he did for the atrocities that he carried out.

He has said that he doesn't feel sorry for the deaths of the 69 people he killed on the Island of Utoya who were all of them affiliated with the ruling Labor Party, because he holds them reponsible for bringing immigrants into Norway, which is really why he says that he carried out these attacks.

The last two days have seen closing arguments; first of the prosecution, today of the defense. The prosecution as you said that there is not sufficient grounds, really to claim that he was sane during the attacks and therefore that he should be committed to a psychiatric institute to be given treatment for his mental health for the rest of his life. And the prosecution says that he is sane, that he outed -- that he acted from these political convictions and that he should therefore be sent -- well, no -- they have called for him to be acquitted or given the mildest possible punishment -- the harshest possible punishment if he is found guilty and proven sane is that he would serve 21 years in prison.

But let's face it, when that 21 years is due, his case will be reassessed and if he is still considered a threat to the society at large, then he'll be kept in, so that 21 years is really just a nominal term, Anna.

COREN: Diana, explain to us, because the issue of his sanity has really been at the heart of this case. I presume that most people in Norway want to see this man punished. So why, then, is the prosecution pushing for insanity, which would mean he would end up in an asylum?

MAGNAY: Well, because -- two reasons, really. First of all, because they don't see enough proof that he is sane, even though we've seen two psychiatrists reports -- conflicting reports -- the first batch of two psychiatrists has said that he was insane and the second report said that he was sane, and in fact all the sort of psychiatric experts who have been brought throughout this case have also sided with the second -- the second report, finding him sane.

The other reason is because Breivik wants to see his acts politically justified. If they are proven to simply to be the rants of a madman. They understand -- they undermine all of that sort of political credence that he so wants to establish for himself for his ideology. And that is obviously something that the prosecution don't really want to give him the grounds for, nor any of the families of those who died.

As you say, four out of fifths of the Norwegian people in the latest poll said that they wanted to see him go to prison rather than to a mental institute, but in fact there have been changes rushed through to the mental health act in Norway at the moment which say that essentially he will probably be confined to a mental section within a prison in any case. So either way, he is going to find himself probably in Ila Prison where he has already spent the amount of time since the attacks last summer where he is currently being housed, Anna.

COREN: Diana Magnay in Berlin, we appreciate the update. Thank you.

Well, let's now get a check of the weather. We'll start with this part of the world. Our Mari Ramos is keeping her eye on heavy rain in China. Hello, Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, mostly there, not too far from you guys. And even in Hong Kong we've had some very heavy rain over the last few days. First of all it was from the tropical storm that was nearby, now that has moved on, but it still remains very active. And so I want to go ahead and talk to you a little bit about this. And you can see how the rain continues to hug the coastline here. And some of these rainfall totals are very heavy. In some cases, over 100 millimeters of rain easily within a matter of 24 hours, extending anywhere from Shanghai all the way down here even as we head into northern parts of Vietnam. A little bit of cloud cover extending back over toward the Korean peninsula and back over toward Japan.

So this is basically the rainy season for you, right. It began in May. And it really began with a vengeance because it has caused some significant flooding.

Well, this system that affects you this time of year is called the Mei-Yu Baiu Front. And it's basically kind of like a meeting point of the generally cooler and drier air that comes in from the front and the generally moist and warmer air that comes in here off the water, off the tropics. Where these two meet, that's where you get that activity of rainfall.

It's also called the Plum Rains, sometimes, because that's -- this is the time of year when the plums are in season, or they're in bloom. It affects most of east Asia here, anywhere from Japan to the Korean peninsula all the way down even into northern parts of southeast Asia. And when we have this presently as we do right now, extremely heavy rainfall is not only quite possible, it happens over and over.

And it just depends where the front actually is. Sometimes it waves a little back more to the north. In other words, the warm air is winning. And sometimes that cooler, drier air is winning and that pushes it farther to the south like we had earlier this week, for example, where most of the rain was stopped short.

As we head through the next few days the Mei-Yu Baiu Front will remain very active. And that means that the rain will remain over these areas, particularly here over eastern China where you're going to start to see some of the affects across the southern parts of the Korean Peninsula and back over toward western Japan.

Western Japan you've had some extremely heavy rainfall already from those two tropical cyclones so with this next weather system coming up that's definitely going to be something that you need to monitor carefully.

The heaviest rains still will be across China, southeastern China in particular where an additional 25 centimeters of rain are not out of the question.

And staying on the subject of rain, the monsoon continues to advance. It's still a little bit late. And you can see that dividing line right over here. It should be farther to the north already. That hasn't happened. We're expecting the rains to reach Mumbai hopefully fairly soon. And notice the temperatures very warm -- 42 in New Delhi, because we haven't had anything significant as far as rain.

To the other side of the world we go. We have a tropical cyclone in the making. This could be Debbie. You know, if it becomes a tropical storm. Whatever it is, it's been bringing some very heavy rains on both sides of the Yucatan strait. As you can see here, there's going to be a hurricane hunter plane that will be investigating this a little bit later today. In the meantime, the rain has been extremely heavy over these areas with flooding and the possibility of mudslides. We're still monitoring the storm for you across western Europe. This is beginning to wind down. We're still seeing some very heavy rainfall, though, especially across the UK. So keep an eye out on that.

We are going to take a break right here on News Stream, but don't go away. More news in just a moment.


COREN: We've been closely following the ongoing saga of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. Now he's been a vocal critic of China's all powerful Communist Party and for that he's apparently paying a price. In April of last year he was taken into custody at Beijing International Airport. He was detained for 81 days. His wife was also questioned and his studio in Beijing was raided. Well, even after he was released, Chinese authorities insisted that he owed millions of dollars in back taxes and fines.

Well, our Eunice Yoon sat down with Ai Weiwei at his Beijing studio a short time ago. He told her he feels vulnerable and miserable about what the future holds. Let's take a listen.


AI WEIWEI, CHINESE ARTIST/DISSIDENT: I feel very sad. I feel very miserable, actually. And it's not just for my own treatment or my own situation, but you have this kind of powerless.

EUNICE YOON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What's your personal life been like for the past year?

WEIWEI: All my activities are limited. I have been forbidden to talk to foreigners, or journalists, or writing on Twitter. I'm always being followed two or three cars with undercover police around. So there must be hundreds of people concentrated on my case.

YOON: As part of the conditions for your release you were told not to criticize the government, not to go online. And yet you still do.

WEIWEI: First, I was trying to do less. I understand their position. They clearly tell me my activities aversion of state power. I ask myself if I can really stop. I'm an artist. I have to have a real touch with reality. This -- the (inaudible) around me. And I have to express myself.

YOON: You've been barred from going to the court even though it's your own hearing. Why do you think that is?

WEIWEI: I'm very surprised. I mean, there's no reason, because the whole case is only because of my activity.

YOON: What do you think the outcome is going to be?

WEIWEI: The outcome is very clear. You know, if the court work for the police, the tech bureau also work for the police, the police has become a super power in China. And they decide everything, because they have a policy (inaudible) maintain the stability. But what is stability. Is stability of the nation or of the people, or stability of the controller?

YOON: How optimistic are you about life for other dissidents, activists?

WEIWEI: This is a terrible time, because when I had so much violations and completely corrupted. On the other hand, this no judicial or a sense of respect of law.

YOON: The government, though, continues to insist that there is rule of law in China.

WEIWEI: I think that's a lie.

YOON: What's next for Ai Weiwei?

WEIWEI: I don't think I can stay quiet, but also I don't know how long I (inaudible) still can have some voice.


COREN: Well, that was Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei speaking to our Eunice Yoon there.

Well, let's now update you on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's quest for political asylum. He remains at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has been since Tuesday.

Well Ecuador's president Rafael Correa says Assange's request for political asylum is being considered. He said earlier, quote, we can't risk that a person who petitions us for asylum be subjected to the death penalty for political reasons. We cannot accept a political persecution for the ideas Mr. Assange expressed.

Well, Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden in a sexual assault case. He reportedly fears that if he is extradited to Sweden, he might then be sent to the U.S. to face criminal charges related to the release of classified U.S. documents on his WikiLeaks website and possibly face the death penalty.

Well, Max Foster asked Assange's friend Vaughan Smith about that.


FOSTER: Have America asked him to be extradited to the United States?

SMITH: No. I'm not...

FOSTER: So this is a distraction.

SMITH: It's not a distraction.

FOSTER: It is a distraction...

SMITH: All I'm telling you...

FOSTER: ...he keeps talking about...


SMITH: What I told you is I'm 100 percent convinced, and I know him well, but this is what he believes. I can't tell you that...


FOSTER: Lot's of people believe different things.

SMITH: Well, that's perfectly reasonable...


FOSTER: ...supporters. And has worked very closely with him tweeted this tonight. I personally would like to see Assange confront the rape allegations in Sweden and the two women at the center have a right to response. There are two women in Sweden who feel they have a case against him are not going to get their day in court because he's holed up in an Ecuadorian embassy claiming that he's going to go to America when there is no evidence that America even wants him to go there.

SMITH: There's been a campaign of misinformation...

FOSTER: What about these women?

SMITH: No, I think the women are extremely important.

FOSTER: They are important. But he should go there and prove his case. And they should have their say as well.

SMITH: There are only allegations against him.


COREN: Fiery discussion there between Max Foster and Assange's friend Vaughan Smith. And Assange could face arrest if he leaves the protection of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The metropolitan police have said they will arrest assange for breaching the terms of his bail.

Well, bullied by teenagers on a bus, this grandmother's ordeal has sparked outrage. We'll tell you what people are doing to lift her spirits.


COREN: Well, Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been given the rare honor of being the first non-head of state to address both houses of the British Parliament. Dan Rivers chairs the pro-democracy leader's emotional journey back to the UK.


DAN RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Her historic address to both houses of parliament was surely the pinnacle of her official engagements in Britain.

AUNG SAN SUU KYI, MYANMAR OPPOSITION LEADER: I have been struck throughout my trip by how extraordinarily warm-hearted and open the world has been to us. To experience this first hand after so long physically separated from this world has been very moving.

RIVERS: But away from the pageantry, there is a personal journey of unimaginable poignancy and emotion. There's been time for her to reflect on her father, an emotional moment when she was presented this image of General Aung San, a photo she'd never seen before, quite a present on her 67th birthday.


RIVERS: She alter took time to pose in Downing Street right where her father's most famous photo was taken while he was lobbying Britain for an independent Burma.

And for the first time in 24 years a chance to visit her beloved Oxford. More ceremony, yes, but also behind closed doors time to reflect on her late husband at the family's house.

She and Michael Aris met in Oxford and lived happily before she left for Burma to care for her mother in 1988. Michelle Yeoh role in the 2011 bio-pic The Lady showed Aung San Suu Kyi thought she was embarking on a short trip.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long are you going to be away?

MICHELLE YEOH, ACTRESS: A week, maybe two.

RIVERS: But once in Burma she was thrust into front line politics, campaigning for democracy and enduring years of house arrest. Her family was left alone to collect her Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, her sons growing up cut off from their mother.

MICHAEL ARIS, AUNG SAN SUU KYI'S HUSBAND: We, her family, are denied any contact with her whatsoever. And we know nothing of her condition except that she's quite alone.

RIVERS: But eight years later, Michael Aris died from cancer. Aung San Suu Kyi was unable even to attend his funeral for fear she'd be refused entry back into Burma. Her personal life surrendered for her political struggle which a quarter of a century later is still not over.

Dan Rivers, CNN, London.


COREN: She certainly is an extraordinary woman.

Well, now to a disturbing case of bullying in the United States that is sparking outrage. Well, now offers of help for the victim are pouring in from around the world. Well, the victim is not a child, but an elderly school bus monitor. She became the target of relentless taunting by four 13-year-old students. Just take a look. This profanity laced clip was posted on YouTube and it was sparked -- it has sparked an international outcry.

Well, it was recorded on a school bus in New York. The students unleash a stream of insults and physical ridicule against the 68-year-old Karen Klein. Well, she remains calm and quiet even as they made her cry.

Klein decided not to press charges. The school district says the students will face disciplinary action, but Klein tells CNN's Anderson Cooper she has yet to hear from the students themselves.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you accept these apologies?

KAREN KLEIN, SCHOOL BUS MONITOR: I haven't gotten any yet. One is supposed to be mailed, but I haven't gotten any ones, so -- the other two I might not get anything from anyways.

COOPER: What do you want to happen to these kids?

KLEIN: I want them to make sure that they never do this again to anybody.

COOPER: Well, a complete stranger has set up a website to raise funds for Klein to take a vacation, obviously well deserved. Well, money is pouring in along with messages of support. And right now the figure stands at more than $460,000.

Well, that is News Stream, but the news continues here at CNN. World Business Today is coming up next.